Predicting Outcome in Postanoxic Coma: Are Ten EEG Electrodes Enough?

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Increasing evidence supports that early EEG recordings reliably contribute to outcome prediction in comatose patients with postanoxic encephalopathy. As postanoxic encephalopathy typically results in generalized EEG abnormalities, spatial resolution of a small number of electrodes is likely sufficient, which will reduce set-up time. Here, the authors compare a reduced and a 21-channel EEG for outcome prediction.


EEG recordings from 142 prospectively collected patients with postanoxic encephalopathy were reassessed by two independent reviewers using a reduced (10 electrodes) bipolar montage. Classification and prognostic accuracy were compared with the full (21 electrodes) montage. The full montage consensus was considered Gold Standard.


Sixty-seven patients (47%) had good outcome. The agreement between the individual reviewers using the reduced montage and the Gold Standard score was good (κ = 0.75–0.79). The interobserver agreement was not affected by reducing the number of electrodes (κ = 0.78 for the reduced montage vs. 0.71 for the full montage). An isoelectric, low-voltage, or burst-suppression with identical bursts pattern at 24 hours invariably predicted poor outcome in both montages, with similar prognostic accuracy. A diffusely slowed or normal EEG pattern at 12 hours was associated with good outcome in both montages.


Reducing the number of electrodes from 21 to 10 does not affect EEG classification or prognostic accuracy in patients with postanoxic coma.

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